China covers a vast territory and has a diverse cuisine that commonly is divided into regional styles of cooking. Although the regions are alike in many respects, each area has unique distinctions.
Northern cuisine tends to be elegant and mildly seasoned food. Wheat, in the form of noodles, pancakes, and buns, is a staple. Garlic, gingerroot, chives, green onions, and wine are used as seasonings in many foods.
Western cuisine includes the inland provinces. Highly seasoned and spicy hot, the cuisine makes use of hot peppers, green onions, garlic, gingerroot, vinegar, Szechwan peppers, dried mushrooms, and tangerine peel.
Southern cuisine features the Chinese foods Americans know best. Southern China is the home of egg rolls, fried rice, and steamed dumplings. Dishes from this region are characterized by delicate seasonings, the heavy use of sauces, and the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables.
Eastern cuisine focuses on Shanghai, which is located in one of the richest and most fertile agricultural regions of China. This cuisine is subtle and complex, makes liberal use of sugar and oil, and incorporates brightly colored ingredients. Red-cooking is a specialty of this cuisine.
Japanese food provides a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
The Japanese stress seasonal foods prepared simply and then artistically arranged on the plate.
Exotic vegetables, tofu, seaweed, and short grain rice are the staples of Japanese cooking.
Korea's cuisine is strongly flavored and characterized by hearty dishes, soups, and the generous use of beef.
Garlic, green onions, soy sauce, gingerroot, pepper, sesame seeds, and sesame oil flavor many foods.
Vietnamese food reflects the influences of China, India, France, and all of Southeast Asia. Aromatic herbs complement delicately seasoned fresh vegetables, meats, and fish. Fish sauce is a universal seasoning both in cooking and at the table.
Aromatic herbs complement delicately seasoned fresh vegetables, meats, and fish.
Fish sauce is a universal seasoning both in cooking and at the table.
The basic approach to Thai cooking is Chinese in style.
The Thai love of spices, especially curries and pungent condiments, comes from India.
Favorite seasonings include fish sauce, curry powder, lemongrass, shrimp paste, coriander, and chili peppers.